Union Cabinet approves panel to investigate Wal-Mart's lobbying activities

The Union Cabinet gave its nod to the appointment of a one-man Committee into the media reports alleging Wal-Mart of lobbying activities.

What would this panel do?

The tasks before the Committee are as follows:-

(i) To inquire into recent media reports on disclosures of Wal-Mart before the US Senate regarding their lobbying activities and details.

(ii) Whether Wal-mart undertook any activities in India in infringement of any Indian law.

(iii) Any other matter relevant or incidental to the above.

The Committee will deliver its report within 3 months.

Wal-Mart has reportedly been lobbying with the US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the highly lucrative Indian supermarket. As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Walmart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to 25 million dollars (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".

Currently, the retail market of India is of the size of about $500 billion, and is expected to surpass the 1 trillion mark by 2020, given the increment in personal incomes.



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